Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is committed to a diverse workplace. We view diversity as an inclusive concept that encompasses, without limitation, race, color, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, nationality, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation. We believe that diversity enhances the quality of service we provide to clients and makes our firm a more vibrant and fulfilling place to work. Our commitment is to recruit, train, promote and retain talented attorneys and staff from wide range of backgrounds.
We are proud that, over the past decade, our efforts in the community and inside the firm have been recognized by the National Bar Association and The National Law Journal. Similarly, the NAACP and Chambers & Partners, among other diversity, equity, and inclusion organizations, have recognized our attorneys with their respective “Foot Soldier in the Sand” and “Outstanding Contribution to the Community in Advancing Diversity” awards.
With a long history of advocating for gender equality in the workplace, we are proud to be recognized for creating a culture of equality and diversity within the firm. Since 2015, Law360’s annual “Glass Ceiling Report” has repeatedly recognized the firm as a “Ceiling Smasher” in the legal industry, including identifying the firm in its 2020 “Glass Ceiling Report” as No. 3 in the nation (firms with 101 to 250 attorneys) for exceeding industry averages for female attorneys and female equity partners.
To ensure it maintains a diverse workplace, the firm has a Diversity Policy and an active Hiring and Diversity Committee that regularly reviews all aspects of its hiring, retention, and promotion practices. Partner Kalpana Kotagal and Of Counsel Johanna M. Hickman Co-Chair the firm’s Hiring and Diversity Committee and works closely with Human Resources staff and firm leadership to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Cohen Milstein has developed multiple ways to advance its Diversity & Inclusion goals:
- Recruiting: The firm posts job announcements with organizations, such as American Constitution Society, American Association for Justice, National Association for Law Placement, and other organizations with diverse memberships and advertises such announcements at law schools that have a high percentage of lawyers of color among their alumni. The firm specifically encourages applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply. Because of these and other efforts, the firm routinely fills 20 percent to 40 percent of its summer associate class with candidates of color.
- Mentorship & Training: we have a formal mentorship program, whereby one partner is assigned to one or more associates to provide career development guidance in order to help ensure that their associate mentees thrive, professionally. Similarly, Cohen Milstein’s Summer Associate program and Fellowship program involve informal and formal mentoring initiatives. The firm also conducts an internal, firm-wide diversity and awareness training to prevent unintentional situations that could cause discomfort to minorities and women.
- Leadership: Nine of the firm’s 10 practice groups are led or co-led by female partners, including women of color, and the firm’s Executive Committee, which consists of five partners, includes two female partners, one of whom is a woman of color. Furthermore, the firm has multiple internal management committees, including the Compensation Committee, Hiring and Diversity Committee, and others – all include female partners, LGBTQ partners, and partners of color – in order to best reflect the current makeup of the firm and its future growth and staffing objectives.
- Thought Leadership: Our attorneys are nationally recognized thought-leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) – across industry, including the law. For example:
Kalpana Kotagal, Chair of the firm’s Hiring and Diversity Committee, is one of the nation’s leading voices on how industry can implement DE&I initiatives. She is also the co-author of the "Inclusion Rider," a ground-breaking hiring contract provision that facilitates diversity in hiring best-practices. Originally created to address the gap in diversity hiring in Hollywood, it can be used in most all industries. Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand made the Inclusion Rider famous by referencing it in her 2018 Best Actress acceptance speech. It is now used by Warner Bros. and Hollywood luminaries, such as Michael B. Jordan and others.
|Betsy Miller, Chair of Cohen Milstein’s Public Client practice, speaks and publishes nationally on cultivating leadership and accelerating systemic change in the legal profession. For more than a decade, Ms. Miller served as the Chair of the firm’s Annual Evaluation Committee, where she reshaped the firm’s attorney review process and approach to bilateral feedback. As a member of Georgetown Law’s adjunct faculty, she teaches courses on conflict resolution and effective communication. Betsy is also a certified leadership coach and works with Cohen Milstein attorneys on an individual basis to achieve their full potential.|
|Julie Goldsmith Reiser, Co-Chair of Cohen Milstein’s Securities Litigation practice, is pioneering the use of shareholder derivative lawsuits to hold corporate boards accountable for failing to prevent systemic discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace. Two of these lawsuits alone have generated more than $400 million in financial relief and have established groundbreaking corporate governance reforms to improve board oversight in addressing these issues, while eliminating practices that have silenced victims, such as mandatory arbitration clauses, and instituting sweeping diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.|
|Sharon K. Robertson, a Member of Cohen Milstein’s Executive Committee, Professional Development and Mentoring Committee and the Diversity Committee, is also spearheading the firm’s legal efforts in cutting-edge and industry-defining pay-for-delay pharmaceutical antitrust lawsuits and generic price-fixing lawsuits. An accomplished trial lawyer, Ms. Robertson has been recognized as one of a few female litigators in the nation to secure court-appointed leadership roles in high-profile MDLs. She is leveraging her experiences in addressing issues of diversity in MDL leadership nationwide including by assisting the James F. Humphreys Complex Litigation Center of George Washington Law School develop "Guidelines and Best Practices for Judges Appointing Lawyers to Leadership Positions in MDL and Class Action Litigation."|